CHEYENNE, WYO. — Receiving education and training at Laramie County Community College in one of the highest demand and fastest growing fields just got much easier, thanks to the support of Microsoft.
Microsoft will provide LCCC with $60,000 in scholarships annually for the datacenter technician program. Additionally, the company donated datacenter equipment, including server racks and components valued at more than $66,000, to the college for a mock-datacenter to facilitate hands-on learning for students.
The Microsoft scholarships are designed to build diversity in the information technology, or IT, workforce by encouraging women and other underrepresented groups to pursue careers in the field. The Microsoft scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, instructional materials, and the cost of industry-recognized certifications. With the data center technician courses being offered either in the classroom or online, anyone from anywhere in the world can be a part of this training.
Students who obtain a credit diploma in the datacenter technician program are prepared for employment in datacenters or other businesses that require computer technicians with training and certifications in basic computer repair, server installation, and networking. The program prepares students to take industry certification exams as well as acquire the soft skills needed to be successful in an IT career.
The program itself has many benefits for students, especially those for whom time and money are strong concerns. In fact, it can be completed in just one semester.
Sarah Ward received the first LCCC scholarship for this program. She already holds a degree in botany, but wanted to get into a career to help support her family, including her special-needs child.
"I'm making a midlife career change and I couldn't have done it without the scholarship," Ward said.
She hopes to apply her credit diploma toward a career with the Microsoft Data Center. "As a person with little experience with computers, the program has helped me grow tremendously."
The training LCCC provides for aspiring data center technicians was developed with—and approved by—Microsoft.
"With LCCC being established as only the third official Microsoft Datacenter Academy in the world, the college stands out as one of the earliest to provide qualified data center technicians to any data center," Roger Findley, instructor of computer information systems at LCCC, said. "Microsoft's support helps us ensure that those who complete the data center technician track be qualified to work in information technology for any company."
Upon completion of their academic program, a select few of the scholars will get an opportunity to interview for paid work experiences at a Microsoft datacenter.
"The partnership provides not only a trained workforce for today, but ensures those who complete the program will have skills that are in demand for the future as well," Findley said.
Microsoft's corporate mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. With the growing adoption of cloud computing, a new generation of technology innovation looks promising to address some of humanity's most pressing problems in new ways. For technological innovation to change people's lives for the better, it must incorporate and encourage a broad range of perspectives and contributions in the field. Through its Datacenter Academy Scholarship, Microsoft is committed to expanding this diversity.